Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has said that the country will back its Petro cryptocurrency with 30 million barrels of oil it has in its reserves.
When the OPEC nation initially sold the Petro via its initial coin offering it stated the Petro would be backed by 5 million barrels of oil. Maduro’s words, Reuters reports, came as part of a renewed push to promote the oil-backed cryptocurrency, as Venezuela deals with hyperinflation and economic sanctions.
In a state television address, Nicolás Maduro reportedly stated:
The inventories of crude and products in storage tanks are available for immediate commercialization ... to sustain and back the operations of the sovereign Venezuelan crypto-asset, the petro.
A previous report from Reuters showed that the initial 5 million barrels of oil said to back the cryptocurrency were “from an area without infrastructure to get it out of the ground.” In his speech, Maduro didn’t clarify how the backing would work.
The Petro isn’t currently listed on any major cryptocurrency exchanges, and it’s unclear whether investors can redeem it in any way with the Venezuelan government. Its crude inventories have been on the rise in recent months, as international sanctions scare off buyers from the state-run oil company PDVSA.
Over the last few months Maduro has been pushing for the Petro’s adoption. As covered he recently stated t has over 27,000 “affiliated businesses,” after last month a Venezuelan official claiming it can be used for payments at 93 different stores thanks to a new payments gateway called PetroPago.
Venezuela has even revealed plans this year to see its state-sanctioned crypto exchange CriptoLAGO release a debit card and a point-of-sale system to help the Petro’s use grow at retail stores.
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